The concern on the mind of every parent is “How do I protect my child from COVID-19 and safely manage his/her return to school?”
No matter where you live, if you’re a parent you are probably agonizing on the ways COVID-19 will affect back-to-school. How will the early weeks and remaining months of the school year look? How flexible will we need to be?
First and foremost, it is important to reconcile that health recommendations will continue to evolve here in Trinidad and Tobago, as it also will across the globe.
for safe schools
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend:
• All staff and students over age two who are able to safely mask should wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. It is also important to learn proper mask technique.
• Vaccination for anyone 12 years or older
• Layered protective measures within schools, including maintaining at least three feet of distance between each person when possible and improved ventilation,
• Frequent hand-washing via installation of sinks at entrances and access points
• Staying home when sick
• Schools should maintain active policies to contact-trace, isolate and quarantine affected students and staff if exposures occur in school.
• Robust health advocacy and awareness programmes on risk mitigation for teaching staff and students
What are driving these recommendations?
Health experts and educators believe having students return to school for full-time, in-person learning should be prioritised, to avoid the enormous psychosocial impact of missed in-person school on children’s growth, development and well-being. Of course, safety for students, teachers, and school staff is a priority, too.
How can you protect your child and your family?
1. Encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. Available vaccines are safe and effective in preventing infection, especially severe infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. And the more people who are vaccinated, the fewer chances the virus has to evolve to develop future variants that currently available vaccines may be less effective against.
2. Encourage wearing masks indoors in public settings even if you’re vaccinated, especially if you live in an area of substantial or high community transmission, as noted above.
3. If your child is vaccinated, be sure they understand the measures recommended to keep themselves and others safe, and why it’s important to follow these recommendations.
4. If your child is not yet eligible to be vaccinated, talk with them about the importance of wearing a mask when indoors, good hand hygiene, and staying at a distance from others when possible.
5. Discuss with your family the importance of staying home and trying to isolate from others if you don’t feel well, even if symptoms seem mild. Review any possible symptoms with your doctor, and get tested for COVID-19, without delays. If you have concerns, call your doctor to talk about what worries you.
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